Recovering After My Panniculectomy, with Abdominolplasty

 Loose skin prior to surgery

Loose skin prior to surgery

On October 8th I got the final approval from my insurance company, secured the money needed for the co-pay, and scheduled my loose skin removal for October 22nd. A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the pannus — excess skin and tissue from the lower abdomen. My doctor also did abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) which tightened the skin and muscles of my stomach.

Before Monday I had never had any kind of surgery in my life- not even a dental procedure. I worked hard to lose 177 pounds naturally; without surgery, fad diets, or pills. Still, I understood that there was no other way to get rid of the loose skin that caused me pain, embarrassment, and anxiety.

Many people use loose skin as an excuse not to lose weight. Let me tell you, having extra skin and being 148 pounds still feels a lot better than being 325 pounds. The amount of loose skin each person has really is up to genetics. There is no predicting exactly how your body will look after losing 100 pounds or more. After being obese for 35 years, and two pregnancies, I had a lot of loose skin, but I would keep my skin a million times over being big again! For the past year that I have been at my goal weight with the loose skin, I have still had significantly better health, more energy, and looked great in clothes despite the skin.

Having the skin removed has just given me even more opportunity to enjoy life in a way I never could have before. If you decide to have it done after you lose weight, that will be your choice. Please, just never use the skin as an excuse not to work towards a healthier lifestyle.

 With my family before starting my weight loss journey. My large stomach kept me from so much in life.

With my family before starting my weight loss journey. My large stomach kept me from so much in life.

The doctor took 18 inches by 10 inches of skin, but it was only 3.1 pounds because I had very little fat on my stomach. That’s a weird thing to say after being over 300 pounds most of my adult life.

He also said it was a complicated surgery because I have so many little veins and capillaries. Doc explained that when I was big all my blood vessels stretched out to support my big body, so now they’re still big in a small body.

It’s weird to be sitting down and able to see my thighs. My stomach is totally flat. It still doesn’t seem real. The first few days were so painful and I was not able to concentrate or stay awake for very long, but it has gotten easier each day.

While I was in the hospital my blood pressure dropped really low and the nurse freaked out which made me freak out, but the doctor said I’m ok and got mad at the nurse. It was 79/47, but I got some medicine and it’s went back to normal quickly.

 Two days after surgery- first day home from the hospital. Can barely stand or walk.

Two days after surgery- first day home from the hospital. Can barely stand or walk.

Day before yesterday a nurse changed the bandages on my stomach and I got to see my skin underneath for the first time. The first thing I noticed was my belly button. I have my very own, real belly button!! As far back as I can remember my belly button was not visible because it was under a layer of fat. After I lost weight it was hidden under a layer of skin. I hated my body from a young age and one of the main reasons was my “buried” belly button. Well, now I have this beautiful belly button and I can’t wait to show it off.

I know many people are looking forward to seeing an after picture, but right now I have four blood drains and a nerve blocker pump sewn into my stomach and the scar is huge and fresh. Also, I still can’t stand up straight, so hard to take a pic. Please follow me on Instagram and I will be posting pictures later this week when I have the drains removed.

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For now I am resting and recovering. My sweet, intuitive cats have not left my side while my husband has gone above and beyond to take care of me, with the help of our two children who are 11 and 13. Yesterday we took the kids to a local Halloween event and he pushed me around in a wheelchair. It was great to get out of the house.

 Selfie while my handsome husband pushes me around a local fair.

Selfie while my handsome husband pushes me around a local fair.

As I recover I am filled with love and gratitude for the abundance of positivity and support from family, friends, and even those I hardly know who have read my story! I thank you all so very much! This surgery was another milestone passed on this epic health and fitness adventure.

Again, be sure to follow me on Instagram for the after pictures. @trainwithhope